IT systems crash as thousands of electricity and gas customers rush to log meter readings ahead of hikes



Thousands of people scrambling to log electricity and gas meter readings, as prices rise, have been left frustrated after an IT systems crash.

nd many have been unable to get through to energy company call centres which are handling above average volumes of contacts.

In the past few days energy companies have been flooded with angry calls from consumers trying to grapple with surging bills, switch providers, and find out why they cannot log meter readings online.

The flurry of calls means it is taking more than an hour in some cases to get through to the call centres of electricity and gas suppliers.

It comes as prices have again rocketed his month, adding up to €600 a year to bills.

It has emerged that record numbers of householders have switched energy suppliers as consumers prepare for what is expected to be one of the most expensive winters ever.

People are being forced to ring energy providers as they are struggling to get their switching requests processed online.

And energy companies have withdrawn a large number of their discount plans, further complicating the switching process, and leaving switchers with poorer-value options.

SSE Airtricity was forced to promise to honour any meter readings at the old electricity and gas unit rates submitted by midday on Sunday after its website crashed as thousands of customers rushed to submit meter readings online.

The supplier said: “We experienced a major system outage on Friday, September 30, which impacted our online self-service platform and the SSE Airtricity app. This was caused by surging demand which reached double our peak capacity for online service requests.”

Reports emerged over the weekend that other energy providers had problems with their online systems for logging meter readings, with people unable to get an answer when calling the companies.

Energia said its website did not crash, but admitted its self-service meter reading submission channel was temporarily offline on Saturday for scheduled maintenance.

Bord Gáis Energy reassured people worried about being charged at higher rates for energy used before prices went up that its system automatically recognises the old usage and the new usage rates.

Energy experts reminded householders of the importance of submitting accurate meter readings as five providers pushed up prices over the weekend.
On Saturday, Electric Ireland’s 1.2 million electricity customers were hit with an electricity unit rates rise by a whopping 38pc.

It is the third Electric Ireland price rise this year, on top of two last year.

Prices also increased for SSE Airtricity, PrepayPower and Community Power customers.

The annual cost of electricity for SSE Airtricity customers will shoot up to €600.

Bord Gáis Energy’s electricity unit rates shot up by 46pc from Sunday, adding €579 to the annual cost for its 300,000 electricity
customers.

The annual cost of electricity, gas and home-heating oil have all doubled in the past year and a half, a development that will add an additional €1,200 a year to the cost of electricity for an average home.

Customers have expressed frustration at being unable to get calls answered by Electric Ireland.

Many need to speak to staff member as they have not being able to get the switching process to work online, with others seeking help to pay spiralling bills.



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